I’ve spent the last five years learning about farming. At first I couldn’t even tell the difference between a hay field and an oat field. Now I can tell when a planting is late. I have learned enough about cattle to sort them for breeding. I don’t do as good a job as the Farmer of course, but I won’t miss any that are really bad. I have learned how to milk a goat, even though I’m terrible at it.
Now it’s spring, and the farm is incredible. There are baby animals everywhere.
The farmer is letting the piglets slip out of their pen. The piglets run all over the farm like they’re free-range chickens, and because the mom is stuck in the pen, the piglets always come back.
My son just used money he earned selling his pigs to buy two Alpacas. We are fascinated by the alpacas, the alpacas are fascinated by the piglets.
The boys spend tons of time outside, doing things that, had we lived in a city, I would have felt are way too dangerous, like cutting wood with an ax and walking through a whole herd of cattle to explore the creek. The boys spend a lot of time in the yard pulling stuff out of the garbage and turning it into forts.
Just when I was about to tell the boys to stop making a mess of the yard and stop taking stuff out of the garbage, a cat had her kittens in the fort. And the boys were so proud that they added a playroom to their fort so the kittens could learn to walk. Now they spend their days waiting for the mom to go get food so they hold the kittens.
It’s also a great time on the farm because we can let the goats out of their pens without worrying that they’ll eat all the crops. The goats are like dogs right now, following my son all around, and waiting for him like a good friend waits, while he goes in and out of buildings doing his chores.
I tell you all this to tell you how nice it is to be on the farm. I love the peacefulness of it and I love how high my learning curve is. I love how I can make a big difference with whatever I do. And when the Farmer needs help with a job, I feel important and useful doing it.
Life on the farm has all the components of a great job. Control over my hours, control over my workload, goals that are challenging but I can meet them, and a high learning curve. But the farm is not my job. I have tried, believe me. I’ve come up with 50 different business models to make the farm my job. But I can see that it’s not going to work.
The farm is not my job. It’s something I love right now. It’s something I’m really excited to learn about. But I can do that without getting paid. I do it for pleasure and because it’s fun to be passionate about something.
I have other work that I get paid for. My homeschooling blog, for example, is growing very fast, and already making me a good bit of money, and it’s an example of a way to keep my learning curve high doing something that earns me money.
Which is to say that there’s a wide range of things we are passionate about, and there’s a wide range of things we can make money doing. The trick is not to find the thing that allows us to earn the most money or the thing that we are most passionate about. The trick is to find the thing that combines passion and money and stick with it so you get great.
Just because I love the farm doesn’t mean my work has to involve the farm. And this is true for you, too, when you are picking your line of work. Often we feel there are are so many things we are passionate about that no career makes sense. Just pick one thing to do. And if that doesn’t work, then pick another. Making a choice and trying it is an important career skill. And choosing something practical, that people get paid well for, is an important life skill.
You are not a failure if you don’t do what you love for a living. You are a practical person who knows that no one can do the stuff they are passionate about if they are worrying about food and rent. Support yourself somehow first, and then explore your passions from there.